Naturalization is the process of a person becoming a United States Citizen. There are certain requirements that need to be met in order to naturalize:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- LEGAL PERMANENT RESIDENCY: You will need to be a legal permanent resident or green card holder for at least five years. If you gained your legal permanent residency through marriage, there is an exception and it allows you to be a legal permanent resident for at least three years before applying to naturalize. If your spouse naturalized also then he/she must be a citizen for at least three years in order to use the 3-year exception. Also if you divorce or separate then you cannot use the 3-year exception. The date for the 3 or 5 years begins on the date on the green card.
- During your legal permanent residency you must not have taken trips outside the United States for six months or longer.
- GOOD MORAL CHARACTER: This part can be a little tricky. If you have any kind of criminal record, whether the charge was dismissed or it was only an arrest, it is important that you speak with an attorney before you file the application for naturalization. There are also certain crimes that if you were convicted will bar you from applying for naturalization.
After sending in your application, you will be asked to do biometric fingerprinting. Then there will be an interview. Next you will have to pass a basic English skills test and a basic civics exam. If you pass both exams, then you will become a citizen and take the oath at a ceremony!
There are many benefits in becoming a citizen, such as the right to vote or bring immediate relatives into the United States. You can apply for federal jobs and become an elected official. The application process can be rather lengthy, but definitely worth it!
If you have any questions or concerns about your naturalization application, feel free to contact us!
This post was written by Attorney Jamie Cosme. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is NOT legal advice.